This past weekend was spent in a food lovers paradise. I got to do all of the eating and none of the cooking! This resulted in a rather significant dent in my bank account as I had to pay for all of my delicious meals but sometimes a little indulgence is entirely necessary. Unfortunately I was so busy eating that I forgot to take a single picture of my food. Alas, you will have to rely on my words alone to get your foodie senses tingling. If you ever find yourself in London, Ontario check out these wonderful eats. Enjoy!
Saturday Morning Breakfast
What: Eggs, sunny side up with grain toast, home fries and an iced coffee.
From: Covent Garden Market, London, ON
The market is a city block filled with individual vendors, selling everything from fresh baked goods and locally grown produce to homemade jewelry and one of a kind art. On a Saturday morning it is bustling with people, young and old, bartering over the cost of berries, finding treasures among a sea of trinkets, sitting down to a classic breakfast made from scratch. Lucas and I wandered around, admiring the individuality of each vendor’s stand before deciding on one for our breakfast meal. The egg yolk was perfectly runny, the bacon was crispy and the toast was dripping with butter. Just the way I like it! I always save my home fries for the end. What better way to finish a meal than with salty, bite-sized, deep fried potatoes.
Saturday Afternoon Lunch
What: Tuna Melt & Porchetta
From: Wich is Wich: A Proper Sandwich Shop, London, ON
Wich is Wich is a quaint and unassuming sandwich restaurant. Wooden tables and an assortment of chairs give the place a homey feel. We sat down for lunch late in the afternoon and had the place virtually to ourselves. The kitchen area is located right in the middle of the restaurant, easily view-able from the seating area. Lucas’ attention was absorbed fully by the chef, expertly preparing out meals. The pork for his sandwich was cut directly off a large hunk of meat that was clearly freshly cooked, then topped with arugula and a mustard seed vinaigrette. Lucas called it amazing. I had the tuna melt. It oozed with three different types of gooey cheeses and throughout there was a sweet and sour flavour from slices of green apple. Who knew something so simple could make a sandwich taste so complex and delicious!
Saturday Night Dinner
What: Italian Inspired cuisine
From: Abruzzi, London, ON
Abruzzi is one of those small, independently owned restaurants that is modern and sleek. A different style of light hangs over every table and a large map of Italy hangs on the back wall. Our reservation was for 8:30 pm and the place was packed when we got there. Despite the crowed we were quickly seated. With a recommendation from the server we ordered an excellent bottle of smooth, full bodied red wine called Hepa from Tuscany. Knowing that it wasn’t going to be a cheap meal we decided to go all out. Starting with an Antipasti plate that consisted of 4 cheeses, 4 meats, almonds and olives. My favourite was a blue cheese cambozola, it literally melted in your mouth. For the main, I had the halibut over a pesto gnocchi with heirloom tomatoes and green beans. The fish was flaky and the flavours came together wonderfully. It had flavour without being over powering. Lucas had the duck breast over kale and veggie with four sweet potato ravioli. I only had a bite but the flavour was so rich in all the right ways. We finished our meals with desert. I had a warm creme brulee served with fresh berries, the pudding was so sweet and creamy with a hint of vanilla. Lucas had the tiramisu, which was topped in white chocolate shavings and served with ice cream. The whole meal was exquisite! From the atmosphere to the flavours, everything was divine.
After a few glasses of wine each, we stumble through the night in the direction of the train station, laughing boisterously all the while. My best friend leads the way, she knows this part of town better than I do. The street lamps cast shadows across our path, providing just enough light to make you aware of how very dark it is.
Without warning a medium sized figure races across the sidewalk. Startled by the movement, we stop, looking around for source of our racing hearts. The silence is nothing short of eerie. My skin crawls as I lock eyes with beady yellow pair in the tree above my head. I turn and run.
— — —
I enjoy the night time because it is calm. Quiet. I can roam where ever I please without threat of harm or imprisonment. Tonight, I am enjoying the shelter of some greenery when I hear footsteps, shuffling. Are these the feet of friend or foe? Then the sound of a sharp and shrill cackle erupts to my left. I am so frightened I cannot think rationally. I dart out from under my shelter and race to higher ground. The blissful silence returns. I watch the creatures, below me they are frozen, only their eyes are moving frantically from left to right. A pale face turns up to meet my gaze before they flee into the night.
When I was eleven, Samantha and I rode our bikes to the corner store almost everyday. The place was run down and smelled strongly of dust but it was our favourite place in the summer time. The corner store had a slushie machine and an entire aisle of 10 cent candy. As long as we could fit it into our pockets, we were free to buy as much candy as we wanted. Each with our own crisp 5 dollar bill.
We rode back and fourth to that corner store all summer long. I wish I could say each ride was memorable and meaningful but most of them are blurred together now. Sun on my back and wind in my hair is as vivid as it gets.
Except for that one day when it rained. The clouds had been growing darker throughout the morning but it was hot, stiflingly hot. It seemed that the only way to quell the heat was to drink an ice cold slushie. So against my mothers warning we set off, me and sam, on our bikes.
Samantha got a red slushie and I got a blue one. As we guzzled them back, the ground shook with the sound of thunder. Loud. Frightening. Exciting. I’m positive that I have never peddled faster or harder in my entire life, bent low over the handle bars we raced against mother nature. Just not fast enough.
The skies opened up as we turned onto my street. Laughing and squealing we made for the garage but we were drenched and no amount of shelter was going to change that. It was the kind of rain that feels warm when it touches your skin. The kind of rain that starts heavy but quickly becomes gentle. The kind of rain where the sun turns the droplets orange. The kind of rain where you can see rainbows if you look hard enough. The kind of rain that entices you to dance and splash and run and play.
And so we did.
This is a fictional piece of creative writing based on a real event from my childhood. While I do not consider myself a “writer”, I do enjoy experimenting from time to time. Thanks for reading!
When I was in grade three my teacher, Mrs. White (for real that is her actual name), used to have us write journal entries about 2 or 3 times a week. She would give us half an hour and tell us to write whatever was in our heads.
Feeling creative? Write a story. Feeling emotional? Write down those thoughts. Feeling passionate about something? Write about it. Feeling like you’ve got writers block? Write about nothing.
Yup, that was a real piece of advice. Even if you’re feeling nothing, write about it. Get half a page of something, anything on paper. I was obviously a little smart ass and at least once a month I would write something that looked like this…
I have nothing to write about because I don’t want to write about anything. Nothing is happening. I have nothing to say. I am not actually writing anything. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. This is what writing about nothing looks like. I am writing about nothing at all. I am just writing the word nothing and this journal entry is about nothing.
I thought I was being funny, but little did I know Mrs. White was still teaching me exactly what she had intended. Sometimes the only way to beat writers block is to keep writing. Even if it isn’t your best work, even if you throw it in the trash can when your done, even if you literally write about nothing! At least you are still writing.
So today, as a means of defeating my writers block, here I am writing about absolutely nothing.
How do you conquer writers block? Share in the comments!
I am sitting on a park bench while my daughter runs around a playground filled with children. Suddenly she comes rushing down the slide and gallops across the sand. “mom, mom!” she excitedly shouts. “Did you see the yellow dog?! Can we get one?” I scoop her into my arms and smile, “the answer is no, you may not have a dog”.
My mom takes the kids to small farm on a Saturday afternoon. They come home covered in dirt and smelling of hay. “I got to pet a puppy today!” they tell me. “Can we get a puppy? He was sooooo cute and nice!” My mom offers me a guilty smile, “he sounds like a lovely puppy” I say, “but the answer is no, you may not have a dog”.
At dinner on a Thursday evening the youngest eats all of his broccoli without complaint and the oldest volunteers to clear everyone’s dishes. After she is done her chore she tells me that all she has ever wanted in her whole life is a dog and her brother wants one too and they will do anything in world if I would just say yes. But I wont, I will say no and they will both cry and make a fuss. But I will not change my mind…
“The answer is no, you may not have a dog.”
I know what you are thinking, you think I am anti-animal or that I am a dog hater. In fact, I am going to make a bold statement and call myself a dog lover. I even have photo evidence!
There you have it. I love dogs. They are wonderful, friendly animals and a visit with a dog always guarantees a smile. The key word here is visit. I am all for a nice visit with a dog but I am 99.99% certain that I will not change my mind about actually owning one. “Why?” you ask (as do my future children). Well let me tell you a story.
There once was a time when all I wanted in life was a pet. When I was 7 it was a cat, when I was 10 it was a hamster and from 16 on wards it was a dog. I did have a gold fish called bubbles for a short period of time when I was 9, but he was a pretty dull creature if I’m being honest. I begged my parents for years but they never relented. “I’ll walk it! I’ll clean up after it! I’ll feed it! I’ll do anything. Puhhhleeeeeese” The answer was always no.Then I started dating a guy with a dog and he was the love of my life, the dog not the guy. This dog was named Pal and he was a beautiful old black lab. He was so placid, friendly, relaxed and kind. Long after the guy and I had called our relationship quits, he still updated me on Pal. I remember when he texted me to say they had to put him down, I cried my heart out. From then on I went out of my way to make friends with dogs. I would pet them on the street, I would visit the therapy dogs at school, I even went through a phase where I watched animal planet’s live puppy cam for fun. I’m not even kidding, I also have a pinterest board dedicated to puppies. The addiction was real.
Then about a year ago Lucas’s sister and her fiance decided to get a fuzzy little monster of their own. A gorgeous golden retriever named Simba. He is the dog in the top 2 photos pictured above. I remember the first time I met Simba, he was so small and so soft. He sat in my lap and slept. It was so peaceful and so perfect. I was instantly in love. The next time I saw him, Simba had grown a lot! In a matter of three short months he had gone from a small, precious puppy to a big, excited dog. Except for mentally he was still a puppy. So he would run like a puppy and he would play like a puppy and pee inside the house like a puppy, but he was big, really big. Huge actually. Obviously my love for him didn’t change, but my patience did.
In July, Lucas’s sister got married, so Lucas and I took on the responsibility of Dog-sitters for the duration of their honeymoon. Now this may sound naive, but good lord that was the longest week of my life. It went something like this…
Walk. No, Simba, don’t eat that. Leave it. Sit, sit, sit, fine don’t sit. Eat your breakfast, no, you’ll eat pine cones but not dog food, that’s cool. He’s peeing on the carpet! Really? My nude heels, you had to eat my nude heels. Slow down, gentle, gentle, ow my arm! Slow Down! Walk. That is the biggest poop I’ve seen in my life. Oh god, its warm, ew, ew, ew. Not that way, this way, no, this way, come on, this way! Lets go around the puddle, nope, okay through it works too. Sit, sit, sit, fine don’t sit. I’m not giving you my food, you have your own food. I don’t care if you sit there with those sad puppy eyes. Good god, Simba, your breath stinks. Fetch! Yes, it is another dog, shhhh, it’s just another dog. Walk. Sit, sit, sit, seriously will you just sit!..
That week felt like one of those high school assignments where you and a partner have to care for a fake baby for a week. But this wasn’t a plastic toy with an automated crying machine. It was a puppy, a very real puppy. And not only was I responsible for him… I think I did a pretty terrible job of caring for him, luckily Lucas was around to pick up my slack. I hated waking up to walk him and I hated it even more when I had to come home from a long day at work and walk him again. Not to mention that I had no control, I had no authority, I mean I wasn’t walking him, he was walking me. And I was angry at myself for letting him get to things like socks and shoes and I was angry with him for ruining my stuff. My couch smelled terrible and to top it all off I discovered very quickly that I am, in fact, allergic to dogs.
So at the age of 23, after living alone for 5 years, graduating University with 2 degrees and being a self-proclaimed dog lover… I was not equipped to own a dog. My life long dream had come to a slobbery end. In a way I am sad because I really do love Simba, he isn’t even a bad puppy, he is just a regular hyper-active puppy and I did always want a puppy of my own. But I have come to realize that this was a blessing in disguise because at least I know now. I know that I don’t have the patience or motivation to own a dog and if I don’t feel equipped to care for a pet now when I have very few responsibilities, how on earth will I be equipped when I also have children to take care of. Poor animal care and neglect is cruel to the animal, it is abuse and the last thing I want to do is cause a beautiful puppy stress and harm. I will happily watch Simba again (as long as I take my allergy meds first) and I love it when he comes over for short visits. However, when my kids ask for a dog I will gladly take them to a shelter to play with a puppy, and when they are old enough I will encourage them to volunteer at the veterinary clinic. But when it comes to actually owning a dog, the answer is no.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
Other than the incessant ticking of the clock the house is silent. Every 30 minutes or so the furnace will shutter, forcing dry air to circulate through the house. And I am sitting alone, being consumed by the silence.
On a Saturday afternoon after a long and busy week, this is what most people long for, peace and quiet. I, however, am not most people. This quiet, this stillness, this solidarity… this is my worst nightmare. Without the warmth and the noise of another person I feel empty. I feel lost. I feel exceptionally lonely.
All the introverts are scratching their heads in confusion, “there is so much to do when you are alone!” they say. I could do laundry, I should do laundry, I need to do laundry. But I don’t. I could clean the kitchen, everyone would be so happy if I cleaned the kitchen, but I have no desire to do that either. I could read my book. I like this book a lot and today would be the perfect day to curl up and read. But I’m distracted. My brain can’t focus on the words and I think I’ve just read the same page over 3 times. I could go to the gym, its been a few days and a nice workout could be exactly what I need. But I have no energy, no strength and no will power.
It isn’t that I’m tired, I slept in today. It is because solitude sucks away all my energy, it drains away my motivation and muffles out my desires. This isn’t depression, not yet, I’ve only been alone for a few hours. But if I were stuck in this situation for more than a week… I’m afraid to find out what might happen to me. I’m afraid. The idea of being alone, the concept of solitude is so overwhelmingly frightening. My breath is catching in my chest just thinking about it. But I am also aware of how needy this makes me, how reliant on others it makes me, how dependant it makes me. How pathetic.
I am aware but it does not change anything. Please don’t give me solitude.